Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Paymaster General welcomes £500,000 grant to tackle unemployment in St Helens [November 2004]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 4 November 2004.

New financial backing for an initiative to get thousands of unemployed St Helens residents back to work was welcomed today by Paymaster General Dawn Primarolo on a visit to the town.

St Helens’ Chamber has secured a £524,000 grant from the Merseyside Objective One programme to continue its Starting Point initiative, which aims to provide 3,500 unemployed local people with personalised training, support and back to work plans.

The Chamber will work with local employers and companies looking to relocate to St Helens to offer support with recruitment, including screening applicants, tailoring training for new recruits and supporting new workers in the first months of their new jobs. Starting Point was set up in 2001, and the new funding will enable the service to continue until at least 2007.

Dawn Primarolo today visited St Helens as part of a fact-finding tour on the impact that Objective One funding is making on Merseyside. She said:

“Objective One funding has, along with domestic funding and support, given Merseyside an enviable opportunity to build a new era of prosperity for local people. The bedrock of this transformation must include effective action to tackle the spectre of unemployment that has lingered for so long over some local communities.

“This investment in St Helens will provide vital help and training for people looking for work. It is to be welcomed as an important step towards restoring not just personal pride but also the economic fortunes of the entire borough.”

Starting Point provides a one-stop-shop for employers and jobseekers in St Helens town centre, on Hardshaw Street, where those looking for work can get personalised training, support and advice to pursue the jobs they are best suited to.

Employers will get practical assistance with recruitment, vocational training and developing the skills of their workforce.

Specialised support will be provided for local people and hard-to-reach groups such as the long-term unemployed.

Other funding for the £1 million initiative will come from the single regeneration budget and neighbourhood renewal funds managed by the St Helens local strategic partnership.

Dawn Primarolo today saw other projects in St Helens that have benefited from Objective One funding, including a £1.7 million facelift to the Theatre Royal, the ongoing £1 million refurbishment of the George Street Quarter and the Bold Miners Centre, which was re-opened as a community centre and training facility following a £1.4 million refit.